\ ˈ(h)wich How to pronounce which (audio) \

Definition of which

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : being what one or ones out of a group used as an interrogative which tie should I wearkept a record of which employees took their vacations in July
2 : whichever it will not fit, turn it which way you like
3 used as a function word to introduce a nonrestrictive relative clause and to modify a noun in that clause and to refer together with that noun to a word or word group in a preceding clause or to an entire preceding clause or sentence or longer unit of discourse in German, which language might … have been the medium of transmission— Thomas Pylesthat this city is a rebellious city …  : for which cause was this city destroyed — Ezra 4:15 (King James Version)



Definition of which (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : what one or ones out of a group used as an interrogative which of those houses do you live inwhich of you want tea and which want lemonadehe is swimming or canoeing, I don't know which
2 : whichever take which you like
3 used as a function word to introduce a relative clause used in any grammatical relation except that of a possessive used especially in reference to animals, inanimate objects, groups, or ideas the bonds which represent the debt— G. B. Robinsonthe Samnite tribes, which settled south and southeast of Rome— Ernst Pulgram used freely in reference to persons as recently as the 17th century our Father which art in heaven — Matthew 6:9 (King James Version) , and still occasionally so used but usually with some implication of emphasis on the function or role of the person rather than on the person as such chiefly they wanted husbands, which they got easily— Lynn White used by speakers on all educational levels and by many reputable writers, though disapproved by some grammarians, in reference to an idea expressed by a word or group of words that is not necessarily a noun or noun phrase he resigned that post, after which he engaged in ranchingCurrent Biography



Definition of which (Entry 3 of 3)

used as an introductory particle (see particle sense 4) before a word or phrase that is a reaction to or commentary on the previous clause I have a very big reputation in Vancouver for being a sore loser, which, fair enough.— Ilona VerleyThis morning we have the monthly jobs report, which who knows if it will meet or beat expectations.— Todd 'Bubba' HorwitzScientists have discovered the bones of a three-foot-tall, 15-pound parrot that lived some 16 million years ago. The remains had initially been misidentified as those of an "enormous, possibly human-eating eagle," which … yikes.— Oliver Roeder

that, which, or who?: Usage Guide


In current usage that refers to persons or things, which chiefly to things and rarely to subhuman entities, who chiefly to persons and sometimes to animals. The notion that that should not be used to refer to persons is without foundation; such use is entirely standard. Because that has no genitive form or construction, of which or whose must be substituted for it in contexts that call for the genitive.

That vs. Which: Usage Guide


Although some handbooks say otherwise, that and which are both regularly used to introduce restrictive clauses in edited prose. Which is also used to introduce nonrestrictive clauses. That was formerly used to introduce nonrestrictive clauses; such use is virtually nonexistent in present-day edited prose, though it may occasionally be found in poetry.

Examples of which in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The real Morel and Wilson had no luck reaching MTA, which shut down 20 years ago and was dropped from the Colorado secretary of state’s registry in 2001. Grace Schneider, The Courier-Journal, 6 July 2017 June Gloom is over, summer is officially here – and the days are only getting shorter – which is reason enough to knock off work early and head to happy hour. Cole Kazdin, Los Angeles Magazine, 6 July 2017 Reeder's dog is allergic to wheat, which is not uncommon. William Thornton, AL.com, 6 July 2017 MLB Pitch, Hit & Run encourages youth players to develop their skills by competing in pitching, hitting, and running competitions, which begin at the local level and continuing through sectional and team championships. Jim Varsallone, miamiherald, 6 July 2017 This year's show will be at the LaPorte County Fairgrounds, 2581 W. State Road 2, LaPorte, which can accommodate 90-100 vendors. Post-Tribune, 5 July 2017 Many progressives object to developers’ business model, which depends on building new units and charging as much as possible for them, even if that makes them unaffordable for longtime residents. Alana Semuels, The Atlantic, 5 July 2017 Residents seem to be embracing the electric people-movers, which are now operating under summer hours of 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Hamik said. Erin Hegarty, Naperville Sun, 5 July 2017 The biggest spending cuts hit the Medicaid program, which provides health coverage for low-income children and adults, including paying for nearly half of all births and much of the cost of nursing home care. Julie Appleby, Kaiser Health News, 5 July 2017 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'which.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of which


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1723, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for which


Middle English, of what kind, which, from Old English hwilc; akin to Old High German wilīh of what kind, which, Old English hwā who, gelīk like — more at who, like

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The first known use of which was before the 12th century

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Cite this Entry

“Which.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/which. Accessed 3 Jul. 2022.

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More Definitions for which


\ ˈhwich How to pronounce which (audio) , ˈwich \

Kids Definition of which

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: what certain one or ones Which hat should I wear?



Kids Definition of which (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : which one or ones Which is the right answer?
2 used in place of the name of something other than people at the beginning of a clause He needs help, which we can provide.The idea which you had was good.

More from Merriam-Webster on which

Nglish: Translation of which for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of which for Arabic Speakers


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